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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

THE LURE or Catch and Release





NOTE: This story is about Adam -- you may have read about him and his friend Amanda on this blog in the story Amanda’s Bloody Mary, and later in his sister’s search for him after The Disappearance. Both Amanda’s Bloody Mary and The Disappearance were published in March 2011 -- you can go back and read those if you haven’t already. This story The Lure chronicles what happened to Adam between the two stories mentioned above.



THE LURE




(Catch and release)
Copyright 2011 j. carlson

dedicated to Michelle Laurin because she wanted to know.



The two men were unaware that Adam was hiding in the trunk of the car, waiting to destroy them at dusk. He was seething with anger and hurt. He wasn’t sure what kind of powers he might have in his new incarnation, but it didn’t matter. They were already dead men. What they had done to Amanda was unforgivable.

Later, after he dispatched and discarded them, he got in the car and drove south. He did not stop until he felt the sun about to rise. As he found a dark place to wait out the daylight hours, he felt an unfamiliar weakness. His body felt heavy as stone.

After driving three days, he found an old house in rural Texas. It was more or less a two storied box that had obviously been neglected and unoccupied for a very long time. He found a faded phone number on the old “For Sale” sign and called it on his new cell. The house sat on two acres and it was dirt cheap so he bought it. It was an achievement for a boy that looked about sixteen to purchase a house. Out of necessity he learned how to use his powers of persuasion and deception -- Amanda had told him that in the world of vamps it was called “glamour.” He paid cash with part of Amanda’s hoard of money. It was easy, too, to impose his will and the suggestion that all involved in the sale would remember nothing other than the fact the house had been sold.

Adam was pleasantly surprised to find that his curiosity and interest in things had not changed. Other things, though, were now instinctual. He obeyed his nocturnal schedule and knew how to meet his nutritional need. He accepted the daily paralysis that overtook him at sunup. No thought was involved.

For the first few months, Adam’s existence was uneventful. In an old shed out back, he found a box of seed packets and bulbs wrapped in brown paper. He educated himself about gardening. It was not hard to rejuvenate the dried yellow lawn or to enrich the soil of the flower beds. In some places the water ran in rivulets over the baked soil and it took a few days of watering for it to sink in and deeply moisten the place. Of course he only worked after dark. Night gardening brought memories of Amanda.

There were things that Adam needed, and what could not be purchased in the early evenings, like the alarm system and surveillance cameras, could be easily pilfered in the lonely hours of night. His place was attracting attention. He often arose at twilight and played the tape from his motion activated cameras. People drove slowly by, gawking at the yard and sometimes getting out of their cars to take photographs of the overflowing flower beds. He would have to be careful not to let it become a tourist attraction. He might build a fence or plant some large bushes for a hedge.

One evening after returning from his monthly procurement of red sustenance, he sat down and watched the disc from the day before. His evenings were lonely and it was a highlight of his wakeful hours to watch what might have happened around his house. The recorded time was nine-thirty a.m. It was very bright. He saw a girl or young woman. From the distance she was very pretty as she walked across his lawn and sat beneath an old tree which had miraculously survived years of neglect. She opened a paperback book. Her hair rippled in the breeze and she pulled it back, fastening it into a sort of knotted ponytail.

He watched her again the next evening when he had arisen. He was riveted.



********************

Kayla locked the door and pulled the sliding screen closed behind her as she stepped into the warm morning. As usual her dad was working or drinking somewhere. She rarely saw him and no longer kept track of his schedule. He hit her sometimes, but not often. She had learned to forget and ignore her mistreatment and neglect. Her father’s was a miserable life, but hers had become a kind of walking daydream. She sought out beauty and held it above the darkness and disappointments that surrounded her. She created her own happiness and her own world.

She and her father lived in a brick house with no air-conditioning except for an old swamp cooler in her bedroom window and a couple of ancient oscillating fans. They had no close neighbors and there were no trees -- no greenery. When she didn’t have school, she liked to leave the house early and walk to the river or somewhere cooler than the brown yard which surrounded the place.

Today she walked east across the dusty scrub to a house about a mile away. The land was flat and she had discovered what seemed like an island of green just outside of town -- lush and beautiful. She imagined she was walking through an ancient Egyptian landscape toward a hidden oasis. She had discovered it two days ago. Someone must live in the house but she hadn’t seen a car and all the blinds and shades were drawn. She took off her sandals and walked around the grass and through the dappled sunlight. She didn’t approach the house, but she wanted to.

She sat on a little stone bench in the shade of a gnarled old tree and next to a bower of climbing roses. It was wonderful. She closed her eyes and breathed in the scent.

After sitting quietly for awhile she decided to knock on the door. No one answered. She padded around the house and up onto a large covered porch. So pretty. She sat on an old rocker and imagined this was her house. This place was nearer to the little town than hers and she decided to go there. But first she opened her notebook journal and removed a pen from the spine. She scribbled something and tore out a page. She folded it neatly. She descended the back steps, walked around to the front of the house and dropped the folded note into a mail slot in the door.



* * * * * * *

Adam watched the tape. The camera was motion-activated, which left annoying gaps in time as the girl sat there in his yard or on his back porch without moving. The last image was from the front camera. She slid something into the mail slot and disappeared. End of tape. He rarely checked his mail so he hadn’t noticed, but he ran to the living area and there on the floor was a folded piece of paper! He unfolded it.



“Hello,” it said. “my name is Kayla Spencer. I am your neighbor -- well, almost your neighbor. I live about a mile or two away. I wanted to tell you, ma’am or sir, that your garden is lovely. I sat for a spell under your tree. I hope you don’t mind. It would be nice to meet you. I’d like to learn the names of some of your flowers and shrubs. Maybe you are on vacation.

That is all -- Kayla”



Adam read and reread the note. It was a nice message and nice handwriting. He’d like to meet her too. It would be good to talk to someone occasionally -- especially on those nights when he was bored. “But that wouldn’t be easy,” he said to himself. “Maybe a bad idea -- still. . .”

He remembered how Amanda had befriended him. She used to sit out on her porch in the evenings or on cloudy days. She had never tried to harm him and even tried to protect him. Unlike her, however, he had no compunction against turning someone. He mulled over the possibilities.

Ultimately, he did nothing. Before the sun even started to rise, he retired to the hidden space he had constructed for himself. Next evening he arose with that awful hunger -- the thirst that came over him when it was time to feed. He hated it, but he had to take care of it. He did not kill his victims, but he loathed the deed. It made him feel monstrous afterward as if he’d just had anonymous sex, void of feelings. He made a point to drive miles away when it was time.

He wheeled his motorcycle from the kitchen and out the back door. He wanted to go check the mail slot and the tapes from yesterday, but his thirst took precedence.



* * * * * *



Kayla had walked around town a little while that afternoon. She had a little money. Her dad usually left her some on his infrequent stays at home. Guilt probably, but she didn’t like to think about him. She walked by a plant nursery and browsed around. She bought a couple of seed packets of drought tolerant flowers. She was inspired by the little house and its gardens. Perhaps if she didn’t get some sort of sign from the person living there . . . well, she would just keep trying. Maybe she could lure someone out. But how? All she could hope was that it was not some mean old man, some sort of antisocial hermit. But she would be careful.

She got up early the next day, had a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice, then headed for her newfound oasis. Although she was a loner herself, she wanted to make contact. Something compelled her. She ignored her own negative thoughts and misgivings. Maybe someone beautiful lived there. Someone exotic and interesting. “Follow your heart, Kayla,” she said to herself.

When she got there, she was disappointed. There was no sign that her little note had been received. She had the seed packets in the pocket of her sun dress and decided to drop them in the mail slot too. She sat down in a grassy area of the yard where the bright colors of nasturtium and petunias overflowed the beds. She lay back and admired a huge hibiscus. She closed her eyes and smiled.



* * * * *



Adam watched the new tape the morning after his return. Between the annoying lapses in the recording, when there was no movement, he admired the girl. She was beautiful. Different than Amanda. This girls allure was not the sophisticated catlike beauty that was Amanda. No, it was innocent, rosy, sweet. Her long hair reminded him of a shampoo commercial on TV -- bouncy, luxurious and almost unreal.

When he found the seed packets, he was oddly touched. As a human, he had pushed away any mushy feelings. But now he had no reason to be embarrassed by sensitivity. He wanted to know her, to talk to her, to learn more about her. But, how? How to do it? She came in the daytime and must have gone home at night when he was stirring. Then he had an idea. He snapped a photograph of himself and uploaded it to his computer, printed it out, wrote something on the back and placed it in an envelope. Later he cut some flowers and put them in a large glass vase that he had found in the basement of the house.  Then placed the vase on the little porch table. He put the envelope beside it. But the girl did not appear on tape for the next two days. He freshened the bouquet and hoped.



* * * * *



Kayla stayed up reading and then watched TV until almost two in the morning. Her dad came home with “friends” about the time she was snuggling up under her blanket. Whoever they were, they weren’t as out of control as the usual “guests” he brought home. She lay listening to a lot of loud talk, raunchy language and at least two women laughing. One sounded like a hyena. After a long time, the talking ceased and she fell asleep.

Near eight o’clock she woke with a start. She listened for about five minutes and heard nothing. She quietly used the bathroom, then crept into the kitchen to find something to eat. In the living room a couple were lying on the floor tangled up in a blanket, another person was asleep on the couch. She didn’t want to know how many might be behind the door of her father’s bedroom. There were empty bottles of hard alcohol, beer cans, ashtrays and saucers brimming with cigarette butts everywhere. She was mad and disgusted and tired. She didn’t want to be around when these people got up. Yuk! She slipped out of the house and headed for the oasis she’d found in someone’s garden.

The weather had been hot lately. It was already warm. She figured she’d sit in her usual place near the old tree and the roses. Instead she meandered around the yard admiring things. She noticed a coil of garden hose that was dripping and she tightened the faucet. Maybe someone had been home recently. Maybe someone was home now! But there was nothing at the door for her. Not even an acknowledgment of her little gift. She knocked. Nothing. How would she ever lure this person out?

She tried not to be mad and hummed to herself. Suddenly she realized how sad her life was. Her eyes welled up and a tear rolled down her cheek. “No,” she thought. Everything is fine. She twirled around once, twice, three times. Then she laughed and ran across the yard.

She climbed the steps to the porch and sat in the rocker. She was so surprised when she saw the bouquet of flowers sitting on a little white table by the rocking chair. Propped up against the cut-glass vase was an envelope with “Kayla” written on it! Her heart beat wildly as she tore it open. There was a picture of a boy. On the back of the photo was written:



“Dear Kayla --

Thanks for the letter and the seeds. Really nice of you. Yes, you are welcome to sit in the yard anytime you want. My name is Adam. I’m sorry I can’t meet you. I am gone all day, every day, and only here at night. Maybe someday I’ll have more time.

A--”



She looked at the photo again. He was cute, she thought, and his eyes looked really kind, but sort of sad too, like he’d “been around.” He seemed too young to live here on his own. What would keep him away in the daytime? Did he have parents? “Oh well,“ she thought. She smiled at the photo. She wasn’t tired, angry or sad anymore. She felt really good.

“Well,” she said aloud, “I’m not going to take no for an answer!” She got up and walked to town for something to do -- and to avoid going home just yet. She decided she’d just have to come and visit him in the evening, even if she had to camp out by the door. She would go home later and get some things for her wait.

* * * * *



Adam slipped out a little after twilight to inspect his plot of heaven. He would weed, water, or whatever. He could smell the lingering sunlight drifting off the plants and shrubs. He loved the smell -- just after photosynthesis ceased for the night. As he rounded the corner of his house, he froze. He could smell the delicate scent of human female. Then he saw her sitting in the rocker on the back porch. She didn’t see him. His night vision was as good as any animal and he recognized Kayla.

He didn’t want to startle her so he padded through the grass and across the yard, ignoring her presence and pretending to work on the flowers. A sweet voice pierced the silence, “Adam?”

“Kayla,” he replied without turning toward her.

She was annoyed and confused that he did not look toward her. “I . . . I’m . . . when did you get here?”

He turned around now and smiled at her. “Just now,” he said.

She walked toward him. She was beautiful. She would have taken his breath away if he actually had breath to take -- other than the air he used for speaking. “But, I didn’t hear you drive up.”

“No,” he grinned. “I walked. I had car trouble,” he lied. “I left it in town.”

“Oh!” she offered her hand. “I’m Kayla.”

“Yes, I know. I’m glad you are here, but surprised, too. Someone will be upset when they realize you’re not home where you should be. Won’t they?”

“No.” He raised his eyebrows.  She hesitated at his questioning look. “It’s a long story.”

He gestured toward the porch. “Since you’re here, let’s go sit down. You want something to drink?”

“Coffee or black tea would be nice.”

“This late? You won’t be able to sleep.”

“I don’t want to sleep,” she beamed.

“Okay. In that case, come on in and I’ll make you a cup. But it still seems kind of weird for someone our age.”



* * * * *



Being in each others company had a soothing effect on both of them. Adam’s nocturnal world played into Kayla’s need to be somewhere and to be with someone that helped her forget her meaningless life and her shadow of a father. His world answered her desires and her soft sweet fantasies. Part of Adam wanted to live in that fantasy world too.


She was the perfect companion. Though, in truth, when he was human he would probably have blown off such a creature. She was all light and air and innocence. He was darkness, earthbound, undead. He had experienced death only to rise up later as a new creature. He wanted Kayla to realize not just her buoyancy but her true potential.



* * * * *

For a year they saw each other almost every evening. With Kayla as his friend, Adam was better able to deal with the absence of sunlight.

Unbelievably it took that long for Kayla’s father to realize she was gone most nights! He wanted to know what was going on. So he traced her path in the afternoon. Must be a boy, he figured, and with that suspicion he finally saw Kayla for what she was -- a beautiful girl on the cusp of maturity. Ripe for the picking. He didn’t like the idea, didn’t like it at all. He’d be damned if he’d allow his only daughter to become an easy piece of ass for some punk kid.

He stood under the window for a few minutes and then heard his daughter’s voice and the voice of someone else. Neither spoke loudly but their conversation was punctuated by laughter and giggles. He reckoned he was listening to pillow-talk. Something about the sounds of happiness and young love cut the old man. It hurt and the hurt turned to anger.

It was a hot and humid evening. Adam could feel it though it had no effect on his body. Kayla however was damp from the heat. The hair around her face curled from the humidity and stuck to her skin as if she were breaking a fever. He was transfixed by the tiny streams of sweat on her forehead that ran down to where her neck and shoulder met. Like dew on a flower. Even in this suffocating heat she still smelled fresh as new leaves, mint and lilac.



Adam was aware someone was outside but he wasn’t particularly concerned . After all it was late in the evening when he was at the height of his physical powers as the sun made its journey to the other side of the world. Still, the knowledge that someone was sneaking around outside irritated him. Just as he was about to slip out the back door and scare the person away -- there was a knock.

Adam opened the front door and saw a disheveled man.

“Where’s my daughter, Boy?”

“Who is your daughter?” he asked politely.

“Kayla Spencer is my daughter,” he yelled, “and I know she is in there.”

Kayla appeared at the door. “Daddy, this is my friend, Adam. We are just visiting.”

His eyes narrowed. “yes, I bet you’re visiting. You come on out of there, girl. You got no business being with some horny little jackrabbit! You come home with me.”

Kayla stood firm. “Adam is a gentleman, Daddy! I’ll be home soon, but I’m not coming right now.”

“Don’t you sass me, girl. You get your scrawny ass out here. Now!”

“No.” she said.

The man pulled his head back as if he’d been slapped. Then a mean look spread across his face and he yanked the screen door open so hard the hinges busted. He pushed Adam aside and grabbed his daughter by the arm. Kayla pulled away. “Let go of me, Daddy! You’re drunk!”

Her father slapped her hard enough to make her cry out in pain. “C’mon you little witch. Get your whoring ass outside.”

Adam felt his anger boil up. He stepped up to Kayla’s dad and said; “Just a minute. She hasn’t done anything to be ashamed of. What kind of father are you anyway? What kind of MAN would hit a woman?”

Mr. Spencer took a swing. His fist plowed into Adam’s left jaw. It didn’t hurt Adam. It enraged him.

As Mr. Spencer turned, he grabbed Kayla by the hair and pulled her after him. Adam’s flashback of Amanda being pulled out of a car to her death caused him to lose control. He took hold of the man and threw him across the room. Mr. Finch’s body left a hole in the wall. He fell like a bale of hay to the floor.

To Kayla’s horror, Adam tore into her father’s neck with his teeth. She had long guessed that Adam was not what he seemed but she had ignored it because she’d fallen head over heels for him. Her dad struggled for only a moment before his body went limp.

Adam knew immediately that he’d made a mistake. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and turned to see Kayla trembling. “Adam,” she wailed with an unusual lucidity that was not the Kayla he knew. “What . . .what are you, Adam?”

“I’m the boy who loves you,” he answered. “I’m sorry Kayla, I was only trying to protect you. I’m so sorry. Your dad will be okay,” he continued. But he was lying. Mr. Spencer was as dead as a doornail.

She looked confused but shed no tears. Kayla had been momentarily yanked from her fantasy world. But she retreated into her safe place and, like an innocent child said; “What should we do?”

“Come here,” he said. She stepped forward. As he embraced her, he whispered in her ear. “Do you want to stay with me? I don’t think it is safe for you to be with your father.”

He felt her nod yes against his shoulder. Unlike Amanda, Adam had no qualms about bringing his human over and into the death and rebirth of his kind. And so he did the deed. She gasped and cried out as his canines penetrated the soft flesh at the base of her throat. Her neck was already damp from perspiration. The mingling tastes made Adam see stars for a moment. He drank her in until she weakened and then gently laid her on the sofa. He let his tongue follow a droplet of sweat as it rolled from her neck to the cleft of her left breast. He was crazed with a passion he’d never felt. His entire body throbbed with it -- and the intense pleasure of feeling something like a heartbeat again made him quiver and shudder.

When the electric thrumming inside him slowed he was able to compose himself. He looked at the two bodies lying in his living room. He was astonished at how he’d gone from such rage to a state of ecstasy in a matter of minutes. For the first time ever in his nighttime existence he stretched out on the floor to rest.

The angel on his sofa would soon plunge into the darkness of his world. He wondered how she would adjust and react. He should feel guilt, but he did not. He hoped he and she could experience that unbelievable pleasure and passion over and over again. Soon he stood up and lifted the body of Mr. Spencer. He needed to get rid of it.



* * * * *



When Kayla awoke Adam sensed something was not right. He was afraid she might not survive the transformation. She did, but her eyes had the strange brightness of the insane. She saw him watching her and giggled. She ran outside into the night and Adam followed her. “Everything feels different,” she said. And Adam watched a little frightened and a little amazed as the breeze blew through her hair and made her light summer dress swirl around her.

This girl was an extraordinary creature -- a gift he’d given to himself. Yes, they had both tried to lure one another but in the end, it was he who captured her. She would not meet his eyes as she danced and stargazed. He wanted to deny it, but he could see that the fruit was tainted. He should have waited. He had taken her during a moment of shock and trauma -- before he could help her adjust to adjust to the explosion of violence. The horror.





* * * * *



Kayla appeared to be a pretty teenage girl, but she wasn’t. Her intellect had reverted to preteen naivety and silliness. Each night they went out together he was heartsick as she flitted and fluttered, ran and danced, giggled at absolutely nothing. The instincts that would keep her alive did not seem to develop and he worried for her.

His worries were indeed well founded. Within a month of her change she disappeared. Although he arose just as the blood red twilight sank into a black moonless night, she was already gone. He tried to track her, but it was no use. A vampire’s heightened senses; hearing, smell, night vision were all finely tuned to hunting human and animal prey. They were all but useless in tracking Kayla.

A few evenings later, far out on the dry landscape, he found her dress. Her former scent clung weakly to it and he inhaled it. He was perplexed. Had she run away naked into the night? Where would a half crazy newborn vamp go? As he stood there clutching the flimsy dress, a deep anguish filled Adam. The whole affair and its unexpected end filled him with sorrow. He wished he could weep, but no tears came. Perhaps he was damned and blocked from anything but fleeting happiness.

At the end of his unused bed was a long deep chest. He opened it and placed her dress in the bottom where he had earlier put some of Amanda’s things. Even though he knew it was not safe to rest in an unprotected place, he dropped into the chest and pulled the lid closed. With Amanda’s things beneath him and Kayla’s dress by his side he buried his face in the lingering scents of love.

Adam re-lived bitter sweet memories. Even his mortal family, his sister Rebekah found their place in the soft nest. Then, surprisingly, he felt a tear roll down his cheek. Perhaps tears would bring some relief to the ache inside him. As the sun rose and bathed the world in morning light, he lay enfolded by velvety darkness. He wondered if he dared even hope for a future. Then he drifted into the familiar oblivion of dreamless sleep.



See the video below!  The song was part of the inspiration for this story.                 Please leave a comment. Thanks.



Silversun Pickups Catch and Release Lyrics:
Part of me
Want to live in a fantasy
Quietly
Show you everything
you'll ever need
I hope you'll take it
I know you're faking
just a little bit
Come on and taste it
Just get excited cuz
you're giving in

Come and see
How the wind in your
hair will feel
differently
Catch and release
The lure above

Who...

Here we are
In the bathwater overflow
Later on
don't say I didn't tell you so
Maybe I didn't but
you're taking it
Knew you were faking
just a little bit


Now that you'll taste it
No need to fight it cuz
you're giving in

Follow me
Down the streams of
sweat on your body
can't believe
The lure was enough

Do you see?
How the wind in your
hair now feels
differently
Catch and release
The lure above
Who knows?
How this feeling grows?
Was it truly what -
Truly worth the starting
Who knows?
Why the engine's blown
Was it truly what -
Truly worth the parting

Follow me
Down the streams of
sweat on your body
can't believe
The lure was enough
Do you see?
How in the wind in
your hair now feels
differently
Catch and release the lure above

Guess the lure was enough  (repeated three times)

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